By Ryan Decker
It was a tough start to the new season for the West Virginia baseball (1-2) team this weekend.
The Mountaineers lost each of their first two contests before the bats broke out Sunday to salvage the series and get their first win of the year.
Friday and Saturday’s games each resulted in losses for WVU.
In the season opener, West Virginia and Charlotte were tied after six innings, but the Mountaineers added a run in the top of the seventh to take a 3-2 lead. However, the 49ers struck for four runs in the bottom of the frame to take a commanding 6-3 lead, which they would not surrender.
Saturday was not any kinder to West Virginia. Charlotte took an early one-run lead, and extended their lead with three multi-run innings including a five-run seventh inning that put the game completely out of reach.
WVU dropped the second game of the year by a final score of 13-2.
The Mountaineers, who are expected to have another good year at the plate, found their swings on Sunday to pick up a win.
A three-run seventh and a two-run eighth inning silenced the home crowd in the later stages of the 6-3 victory.
Hitting-wise, sophomores Darius Hill and Cole Austin led the way for Randy Mazey’s club.
Hill went 5 for 14 with 4 RBI in the series, while Austin leaves North Carolina hitting at a .364 average on the young campaign.
Each of Kyle Davis’ two hits were loud ones, a leadoff double down the left field line Sunday, and a long home run Friday.
Freshman Brandon White had a great day at the plate Sunday in the series finale.
White went 3 for 4 with a two-RBI double in the eighth inning that extended the Mountaineer lead to 6-1.
West Virginia’s six runs on Sunday was greater than the combined run output from the team on Friday and Saturday.
A number of pitchers got time on the mound for one reason or another in the series.
In total, pitching coach Derek Matlock employed 13 starting and relief pitchers, including six relievers during Saturday’s blowout loss.
The Mountaineers got just one quality start in the series, that belonging to Sunday’s starter Conner Dotson, who tossed six innings while allowing just one run on seven hits.
BJ Myers went the deepest of the three starters, lasting 6.1 innings on the mound. However, he gave up four runs on six hits in his first start of the year.
Michael Grove had similar luck Saturday, also surrendering four runs on six hits, though only pitching four innings.
Senior Jackson Sigman was the only pitcher to appear multiple times this weekend, though pitching just 1.1 combined innings. After allowing a pair of runs in the series opener, Sigman returned to form in the finale, striking out the side in the seventh inning.
Jacob Potock had a successful outing Friday, pitching 1.1 innings and giving up just one hit. Freshman Isaiah Kerns made the first appearance of his college career, going completing a full frame on the mound Sunday. He allowed a measly single and struck out a pair of 49er hitters.
WVU returns to action Friday on an extended-weekend trip to South Carolina. The Mountaineers will face off against George Mason and Ball State in Myrtle Beach, and will play the defending champion Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Saturday and Monday.